128 Animals Rescued From Suspected Puppy Mill in North Carolina, Officials Say
The Humane Society of the United States(NEW YORK) — Nearly 130 animals were recently rescued from a suspected puppy mill in Cabarrus County, NC, according to officials.
After receiving an anonymous complaint, the Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office served a search and seizure warrant on a property owned by 69-year-old Patricia Gail Yates last week, Sheriff Brad Riley told ABC News today.
Deputies discovered a total of 105 dogs, 20 cats and three goats living in “unsafe and unsanitary conditions” on Yates’ property, according to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which assisted with rescue efforts.
“Many animals had untreated medical issues, were pregnant and in need of urgent veterinary care,” HSUS said in a news release, adding that a temporary emergency animal shelter was immediately set up.
Half of the animals “had grade-four dental disease, which is the worst kind,” said HSUS Puppy Mill Response Manager Jessica Lauginiger.
“There were a lot of rotting, missing teeth and jaws,” Lauginiger told ABC News today. “There were rotting gums, holes in gums. It was really bad. One dog even had a ruptured eye that had to be removed.”
Despite the conditions the animals were rescued from, Lauginiger said she wasn’t surprised.
“Unfortunately, the conditions and the medical concerns in this case were very typical of what we’ve seen in large-scale breeding operations,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking.”
But after more than a week of intensive surgeries, dental work and other intensive procedures, rescuers are finally seeing a silver lining.
“As of Wednesday, all the animals have made it through and are now out of the temporary emergency shelter,” Lauginiger said.
Various shelters and rescues have taken in the dogs, cats and goats, she said, adding that they are all now on the road to recovery and new homes.
Yates, was arrested on Sept. 26, the day the animals were seized, and faces several charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty, according to Cabarrus County Sheriff Brad Riley.
Riley added that Yates has since been released from custody. She is awaiting a court hearing to answer to the charges.
The spokeswoman added that it was not immediately clear if Yates had obtained a lawyer. ABC News was not immediately successful in reaching Yates for comment today.
“Animal cruelty comes with serious consequence,” said Lt. David Taylor in HSUS’ news release. Taylor is one of the county’s sheriff’s deputies investigating the case.
“Our number one priority is the protection and safety of the animals, including their environment,” Taylor said. “In Cabarrus County we’re investigating claims and prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law. However, the investigation is just the beginning of the story. We are fortunate to have the support of The HSUS as we move forward with the response.”
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